A bachelor's degree is typically required for admission into a graduate nursing program, but according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) some programs accept registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing. Programs commonly require applicants to have a current nursing license and/or a minimum amount of professional experience as a registered nurse. For a part-time student, it takes about two and a half years to complete the master's program. After completing the program, candidates can gain nurse-midwife certification by passing an exam.
Master of Science in Nursing
MSN students gain the knowledge and skills needed to prescribe medications (in select states), order diagnostic tests, conduct regular health exams and refer patients to specialists. Students learn how to diagnose and treat health conditions and promote disease prevention for women and children. Clinical education is also typically part of the curriculum and provides students with hands-on training in various settings, including experience with childbirth. Typical classes include:
- Family planning
- Pharmacology and pathophysiology
- Managing health problems and symptom evaluation
- Women's health and gynecology
- Intrapartum, postpartum and neonatal care
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advanced practice nurses such as nurse-midwives are expected to see job growth of 16% from 2018 to 2028. Nurse-midwives can work in birthing centers, home birth services, private practices, hospitals and health centers. The annual median salary for nurse-midwives in May 2018 was $103,770, as reported by the BLS.
Certification and Continuing Education
The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) grants certification to qualifying nurse-midwives. Eligibility requirements for the certification include graduating from an ACNM-approved program, having a valid nursing license and passing an examination. Students can take their education further by enrolling in a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program, which is a terminal nursing degree. At the doctoral level, research opportunities may continue in nurse-midwifery.
Depending on the specific state, nurse-midwives perform a variety of roles in relation to women's health, pregnancy and childbirth, so a MSN degree in nursing-midwifery is the best education option. These programs will allow students to attain all necessary certification for a nurse-midwife career in their specific state.